I lived in Massachusetts from 1996-2001, and spent the majority of those years living in South Boston and Somerville. Before arriving in the Bay State, I had no idea that the Red Sox were living under a curse.
At the library in college, I came across some graffiti on a desk asking “What dumb $%^& blew the 1986 World Series?” The answer was scratched in the desk along with more choice words about the player.
I asked my then-boyfriend the trivia question and the sentence was barely out of my mouth when he spit out the answer. “Bill Buckner.”
“How do you know that?” I was amazed, this being a decade after that particular series was over.
“It was one of the worst plays in Red Sox history,” he explained to me, as if I should know this. “The Red Sox are the worst team ever. They always loose. They haven’t won a World Series since 1918”
“The Cubs haven’t won a series since 1908. What makes Boston worse than them?” I asked.
He sighed and said, “The Red Sox come so close to winning and then lose in the most painful way. It’s torture.”
And thus I was introduced to the sad/happy loser culture that was being a fan of the Red Sox.
A few years later, I was living in Boston and watching the evening news. The Red Sox had just lost some important game and were not going to advance. There were man-on-the-street interviews. One of them was a middle aged man, nicely dressed and very angry. “My father,” he spit out, “My father, is eighty-three years old! When is he going to see us win a series?”
I laughed, but I thought of that man every September and wondered, in 2004, if the poor man’s father was still alive to see them win.
NPR tonight had a story about younger fans having escaped this sad/happy state of loserdom. “The Boston Red Sox are the greatest team evah!” one teenager said. One of the parents commented about his child’s confidence in his team, “I know that eventually, the Red Sox will let him down.”
And thus, a new generation will be born.